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Match Previews

Preview: Sky Bet EFL Matchday 8

15 September 2017

After an entertaining round of midweek action, there’s a full programme of EFL fixtures this weekend. Here’s our matchday preview…

High five for high-flying Blades?

Sheffield United host Norwich City and, going into the match, they have the opportunity to make it five successive Sky Bet Championship victories.

Wins against Barnsley, Derby County, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers respectively have seen the Blades rise to third in the table — just two points off the summit.

The Canaries’ start to the campaign has been a mixed one, but Daniel Farke's side are yet to record an away league triumph in 2017/18, whereas Chris Wilder's side have won three of three at Bramall Lane so far.

Away day Blues for PNE

After turning in a superb display to defeat then league leaders Cardiff City 3-0 on Tuesday night, Alex Neil’s Preston North End make the trip to the Midlands to face Birmingham City.

While the Bluebirds were protecting an unbeaten run in midweek, Harry Redknapp's side are in contrasting form, having failed to pick up a point in any of their last four league outings.

Neil has enjoyed an impressive opening to his reign at Deepdale, but his side are yet to find the net on their travels. However, they are seven unbeaten against the Blues, and have scored in every fixture since a 2001 Play-Off loss.

Around the grounds

New table toppers Leeds United make the journey to Millwall, aiming for a fifth straight maximum points haul.

Two of last season’s Premier League sides meet at the KCOM Stadium, with Hull City and Sunderland both looking to kickstart their respective campaigns.

Fourth-placed Wolverhampton Wanders take on Nottingham Forest in what promises to be an intriguing clash at the City Ground, while second in table Cardiff City host Sheffield Wednesday.

Saturday’s action is rounded off at Oakwell, where Barnsley clash with Aston Villa, live in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Sky Bet Championship: Matchday 8 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Saturday 16th September 2017

Barnsley v Aston Villa (5:30pm - live on Sky Sports)
Birmingham City v Preston North End
Brentford v Reading
Bristol City v Derby County
Burton Albion v Fulham
Cardiff City v Sheffield Wednesday
Hull City v Sunderland
Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers
Middlesbrough v Queens Park Rangers
Millwall v Leeds United
Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sheffield United v Norwich City

All-Yorkshire affair in Bradford

It’s fourth versus ninth at Valley Parade where two of the division's highest scorers, Bradford City and Rotherham United, do battle.

The Millers come into the game on a high, following their resounding 5-1 success over Walsall on Tuesday – a second five-goal haul of the new campaign, taking them to a joint-high tally of 15.

Stuart McCall’s team are a goal further back, and followed up back-to-back 3-1 wins against Peterborough United and Bristol Rovers with a 2-2 draw at Oxford United on Tuesday night, thanks to a stoppage-time leveller from Romain Vincelot.

Sunday showing

There’s action from Sky Bet League One on Sunday too, with Scunthorpe United making the short journey to Doncaster Rovers.

Darren Ferguson’s side currently sit in 16th position, while the Iron are in 11th, after losing out on home turf against Blackburn Rovers during the week.

Rovers also will be seeking a response, after they were beaten in cruel fashion by Rochdale, who scored twice in injury time to earn the points in a 2-1 victory at Spotland.

Around the grounds

Blackpool’s 3-1 away win at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday lifted the Tangerines into the play-off positions, and they meet eighth-placed Oxford at Bloomfield Road this weekend.

Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury’s Town will have a seventh league victory of the season in their sights when they go to Oldham Athletic but, should they lose out, Peterborough United could go back to the top of the table with three points at Walsall.

Two wins out of two have given new Northampton Town boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink the perfect start to life at Sixfields — he takes his players to Southend United this time around.

Another side in fine form are Blackburn Rovers, who, with three points at Scunthorpe last time out, made it four successive victories. Their opponents at Ewood Park this Saturday are AFC Wimbledon.

Sky Bet League One: Matchday 8 fixtures (3pm kick-off)

Saturday 16th September 2017

Blackburn Rovers v AFC Wimbledon
Blackpool v Oxford United
Bradford City v Rotherham United
Bury v Plymouth Argyle
Gillingham v Charlton Athletic
Milton Keynes Dons v Rochdale
Oldham Athletic v Shrewsbury Town
Portsmouth v Fleetwood Town
Southend United v Northampton Town
Walsall v Peterborough United
Wigan Athletic v Bristol Rovers

Sunday 17th September 2017

Doncaster Rovers v Scunthorpe United

Exeter going for six

With a win at Barnet on Tuesday, Paul Tisdale’s squad racked up a fifth consecutive league victory of the season, moving them onto 19 points and keeping the Grecians at the top of the tree in Sky Bet League Two.

This Saturday sees them go for number six, against a Crewe Alexandra side who have made a mixed start to the season, currently sitting 11th as a result of three wins, two draws and two defeats.

There's nothing mixed about the head-to-head over the years though. Alongside 14 draws, both clubs have registered 16 victories, will this weekend see the sides separated?

Lunchtime action at Sincil Bank

Lincoln City have the chance to make it a hat-trick of successive wins when they face Mansfield Town in Saturday's early kick-off (1pm).

The Imps have picked up 10 points from their last four fixtures — form which has seen them rise into fifth spot in the table, while Steve Evans’ Stags are unbeaten in their previous four outings, and comprehensively brushed aside Grimsby Town 4-1 last Saturday.

It's the second meeting between the pair this term after Danny Cowley's men ran out 3-1 winners in the Checkatrade Trophy, a game which saw two former Stags – Matt Green and Ollie Palmer – get on the scoresheet.

Around the grounds

Second-placed Notts County know a slip-up from Exeter could open the door for them to move into top spot — they’re at Crawley Town seeking a sixth match without loss.

Two sides on the very periphery of the play-off places meet at Adams Park, as eighth-placed Wycombe Wanderers take on ninth-placed Luton Town.

At the other end of the table, Port Vale host Forest Green Rovers in a fixture between the EFL's bottom two clubs, and Cambridge United take on Coventry City for what will be a first ever league meeting between the pair.

Chesterfield are unbeaten at home against Accrington Stanley since the visitors were promoted to the EFL, and Swindon can say the same about Stevenage – they're just two of the other weekend clashes to look out for in Matchday 8.

Sky Bet League Two: Matchday 8 fixtures (3pm unless stated)

Saturday 16th September 2017

Cambridge United v Coventry City
Carlisle United v Barnet
Cheltenham Town v Colchester United
Chesterfield v Accrington Stanley
Crawley Town v Notts County
Exeter City v Crewe Alexandra
Grimsby Town v Yeovil Town
Lincoln City v Mansfield Town (1pm)
Morecambe v Newport County
Port Vale v Forest Green Rovers
Swindon Town v Stevenage
Wycombe Wanderers v Luton Town

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